Surfacing are writing a specially commissioned piece - tentatively titled ‘The Black Corpse of the Sun’ - for the opening weekend of Ordinary Culture’s Duke’s Wood Project, which sees a number of artists engaging with a site in north Nottinghamshire from where oil was extracted between 1939 and 1966, and which is now a nature reserve. During World War Two its oil was found to be of particular use for powering fighter planes; now, long-discareded pumpjacks jut out of the woods like the strangest public art, butterflies dancing around their inert angles.
Our piece engages with the site’s sentience and geopolitical-ecological function, which flows between the supposed boundaries between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’; war and peace such that these categories are no longer viable. Drawing on many of the themes that artists in the project engage with, techno-futurism sits merges with prehistoric ooze; dread with hope; noise with silence. Oil still lies beneath the site: so much death waiting for us to re-animate it, like that which has been repressed waiting for its surfacing…
"that black and nefarious essence of all life that had ever been, constituting in fact a great deep-digged black graveyard of the ultimate eldritch past with blackest ghosts, oil had waited for undreds of millions of years, dreaming its black dreams, sluggishly pulsing beneath Erat’s stony skin, quivering in lightless pools roofed with marsh gas and in top-filled rock tanks and coursing through a myriad channels…’ - Fritz Leiber, Black Gondolier (quoted in Eugene Thacker’s ‘Black Infinity; or, Oil Discovers Humans’)
We will be performing on Saturday 31st August at Duke’s Wood. The full programme is as follows:
• Public launch of all newly commissioned artworks.
• 1-3pm - Family activities with Joanna Dacombe
• 3pm - Introductory tour with Dukes Wood Project Curators
• Bow Down: A series of intermittent performances taking place in the woodland clearings throughout the day with poets Alec Finlay and Amy Cutler and singer Hanna Tuulikki.
• 5pm - 8pm - Opening reception at Duke’s Wood with film screenings and a live performance by Surfacing.
A return bus can be booked from Nottingham by clicking here.